Tiger Woods will have almost entirely new equipment when he returns to competition this week for the first time since missing the cut at the PGA Championship in August. Woods missed over three months in the middle of the 2013-14 season, including the Masters and the U.S. Open, after undergoing a microdiscectomy in late March.
The 38-year-old will compete at the newly named Hero World Challenge, an unofficial PGA Tour event that he hosts and has won five times. The tournament benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation and this year is being held at Isleworth Golf & Country Club in an exclusive community where Woods lived for several years.
The 14-time major champion will be playing a Nike Vapor Speed prototype driver that will look something like the version that will be available at retail January 30, 2015.
Here’s a look at Woods hitting the new driver on the range yesterday, via the Tiger Woods Foundation Twitter account. If you listen closely, you can hear him call a “high cut."
Woods will also play a Vapor Speed 3- and 5-wood. With the Vapor Speed driver, these fairway woods hit the market January 30, 2015.
Tiger will have a set of Nike Vapor Pro blade irons in his bag. Rory McIlroy initially switched to the same irons at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in October, but has since put last year’s Nike VR Pro blades back in play.
Via the Nike Golf Twitter account, here’s a look at Tiger’s personalized Vapor Pro blades. The Vapor Pro irons are currently available at select retailers.
Tiger will also be playing the Nike RZN Black golf ball. According to the Nike Golf website, he last used the Nike One Tour D ball in competition.
In his last three events, Woods, currently ranked 24th in the world, withdrew once (WGC-Bridgestone Invitational), finished 69th (British Open) and missed the cut (PGA Championship).